Eggplants are large oval-shaped vegetables with deep purple skin. They belong to the night-shade family of vegetables so they are related to tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Eggplants can be baked, sauteed, stewed, fried or steamed and served as side dishes or in place of meat in main meals.
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A 1-cup serving of cooked eggplant contains less than 0.82 g protein, 2.5 g fiber, 8.64 g carbohydrate, 122 mg potassium, 0.25 mg iron, 14 mcg folate, and 2.9 mcg vitamin K. It’s low in fat, sodium and calories with 0.23 g fat, 1 mg sodium and 35 calories.
Proteins are broken down into individual amino acids during digestion and the amino acids are used to repair and maintain muscles and body tissues. They’re also necessary for production of enzymes, some hormones, transport carriers and antibodies. Adult males need about 56 g protein every day and adult females need about 46 grams.
Protein sources are either complete or incomplete, based on their amino acid profiles. Animal protein sources are complete because they contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Most all plant proteins are incomplete because they are low in one or more amino acids. Eggplant protein is missing methionine, which your body also needs to make cystine.
The amino acid profile differs for each plant source so vegans or strict vegetarians can combine different plants to ensure an adequate amino acid intake. Complementary proteins provide all nine essential amino acids when combined in your diet. Eggplant protein is deficient in methionine; however, nuts and seeds contain sufficient amounts, so they are complementary proteins for eggplant. Complementary proteins don’t need to be eaten at the same meal; they can be consumed at any time throughout the day.